a-hebrew-word-racha-homosexualThis is for the Christian bigots due to comments on civil union and marriage.

Date: 07/10/92

From: Deacon

Area: GayCom Dialogue

It's not correct to say that Jesus never dealt with homosexuality-- He did so, though in an oblique way in Matthew 5:22

because the wording was not understood, was left out of some versions of the Bible, though included in many), Jesus says,

"But I say unto you, that.... whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of thecounsel ..."

"Racha" was an unknown word for many centuries, but in the 1920s there were a number of discoveries of old papyri, two of which used the word "racha" in a context that made its meaning clear for the first time.

"Racha" was a Hebrew loan word used by the Hellenic settlers as part of their vulgar speech. It is virtually identical to the modern day term "faggot."

So, while Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, Per Se, he DID warn his followers not to commit verbal gay bashing.


Matthew at 5:22, where the King James version reads:

"But I say unto you, that...whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the counsel..."


This word is found only in some manuscripts of the New Testament Gospel of Matthew at 5:22, where the King James version reads:

"But I say unto you, that...whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the counsel..."

The text of the gospel includes no explanatory gloss, as is usual with foreign words that would otherwise have been unintelligible to the Greek reader, and the majority of modern commentators understand the word as Semitic: raka = Hebrew réqã "empty, empty-headed, brainless."

Yet there is an alternative meaning proposed in 1922 by Friedrich Schulthess, an Expert in Syriac and Palestinian Christian Aramaic; he equated the word with Hebrew rakh, "soft," which would thus be equivalent to Greek malakos/malthakos, which denotes the passive-effeminate homosexual.

Further, in 1934 a papyrus was published from Hellenistic Egypt of the year 257 before Christ that contained the word rachas in an unspecified derogatory sense, but a parallel text suggests that it had the meaning kinaidos ("faggot").

It would thus have been a loan-word from Hebrew in the vulgar speech of the Greek settlers in Egypt. A modern Counterpart is the word rach, "tender, soft, effeminate, timid, cowardly" in the Gaunersprache, the argot of German beggars and criminals, which has absorbed many terms from Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic because of social conditions that created a linguistic interface between the Jewish "fence" and the gentile thief.

The import of the Gospel passage is that whereas the old Law forbade only murder, the new morality of the church forbids aggression even in purely symbolic, verbal forms, and the ascending scale of offenses and penalties is tantamount to a prohibition of what is called in Classical Arabic mufaharah, the ritualized verbal duel that is often the prelude toCombat and actual bloodshed. So Jesus is represented as forbidding his followers to utter insults directed at the other party's masculinity -- a practice that has scarcely gone out of fashion in the ensuing nineteen centuries, as the contemporary usage of faggot well attests.

....What the text in Matthew demonstrates is that he forbade acts of violence, physical and verbal, against those to whom homosexuality was imputed, in line with the general emphasis on self-restraint and meekness in his teaching....

This is quoted, nearly in its entirety, from Warren Johnson's entry in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, Edited by Wayne R. Dynes, published by Garland.)

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